Top 10 news of 2018 in China’s wine market

We round up the top 10 biggest news stories from China’s wine market that made the most significant impact in 2018; from counterfeiting to new laws, trade wars and e-commerce.

It was a year that the market has significant inroads in trademark protection to start with. Treasury Wine Estates launched a legal law suit against copycat brand, Rush Rich, and a massive fake wine haul in Henan province netted US$14 million worth of fake wines including Penfolds.

2018 was also the year when China introduced its first ever e-commerce law that would hold merchants as well as online platform operators accountable for fake products sold online. Last but not least, Bordeaux won landmark case against counterfeit wines, bringing criminal convictions to fraudsters in Shandong, China’s biggest wine producing province, and Shanghai, arguably China’s wine capital.

This was also a year that political frictions have spilt over to wine trade and sparked up some tensions. A few Australian companies including TWE reported delays at Chinese customs, the result of a spat due to Australian concern over China’s growing political influence in Australia.

The most combustive wine row that defined the year was the China-US trade war which started last March, where the countries engaged in tit-for-tat retaliations, with China levying additional import tariffs on American wines.

Meanwhile, the country’s e-commerce sector continues to transform wine sales in China, with the Alibaba Group launching its first staff-less wine store in Hangzhou. The e-commerce giant also invested RMB 2 billion into 1919.com, an O2O (online-to-offline) drinks specialist, signalling its confidence in online alcoholic beverage sales.

There were also record-breaking occasions such as the Macallan 1926 sold in Hong Kong, and a superlative wine dinner featuring wines from 19th century. China also launched its own wine rating system, shunning established western scoring systems, which could have larger implications in the coming years.

Scroll through the pages to see all the big news happened in China’s wine market in 2018.

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